It is evident from the recent changes made to the assessment objectives and requirements that the Ministry of Education is shifting towards applied learning in Mathematics and Science. Gone are the days where students who are adept at rote learning and mindless memorisation can cruise through standardised tests.
You have to adopt a different approach in building your child’s Mathematical skills to respond to the changes. Vigorously practising questions and drilling Math concepts remain necessary, but in addition, using daily examples and appropriate learning aids can help him to be accustomed to applying Mathematical skills to real-life scenarios.
The fact that Mathematical skills are honed through drills and practice does not change. The volume of questions completed, however, are far less important than deliberate practice. Deliberate practice essentially means making every question completed count. When practising questions, help your child to identify keywords in the question to determine the correct strategy to counter it.
Have your child practise a variety of questions involving different topics and requiring various problem-solving strategies so that he would be well equipped to tackle any type of question. Your child should also have the habit of adhering to proper standards in presenting workings. The standards are mentioned in detail in this article. It is preferable to do a variety of questions involving thorough analysis and clear workings rather than a ton of poorly completed ones reflecting little purpose.
Mathematics is a ubiquitous subject where its application is apparent in our daily lives. A trip to the supermarket involves having knowledge of Arithmetic and Estimation in monetary calculations. Measurements in the kitchen require knowledge of Mass and Volume. Involve your child in these everyday activities and applying Math to solving problems would no longer be unfamiliar to him, whether it is inside or outside the examination hall.
Using learning aids is a good way to help your child use Mathematics creatively. For example, cubes and blocks help to hone your child’s visualisation skills of 3D solids. If physical learning aids are expensive to purchase or a chore to find, digital learning tools are currently easily accessible online, and are often available for free or for a nominal fee. Math games and puzzles are dynamic and interesting ways to teach your child to use Math in different contexts.
Helping your child learn creatively goes beyond scoring a higher mark on the Math test. It also makes learning Math much more enjoyable!